Before I made the decision to really plunge into the world of apron production, my first designs at Crepe Bar were catching the eye of other local chefs. Most of the calls or Instagram notes were for single, personal aprons. But Greg Weiner, the executive chef of The Buttes Marriott, had other ideas.
He had been shifting the image of the resort’s flagship restaurant, Top of the Rock, away from a conference and special occasion only venue to include a mix of affordable, modern cuisine. He had added many new features like Friday night TV Dinners, guest chef dinners, and happy hours. Now he wanted to break away from the stoic black chef and server aprons.
His request for 26 chef and server aprons was my first big order, and my first chance to create a “uniform” that would fit with the chef’s vision of menu and setting. It started with finding the right fabric – a beautiful and durable copper cotton with a soft finish that seemed to shift tones in the light just as our Arizona rocks do. The color was an ideal match to the copper in the open circular kitchen and also to the panorama of Camelback Mountain and Papago Buttes seen from the restaurant windows.
Next we picked out trims of browns and whites for a modern yet professional finish. Finally, we custom sized aprons for each chef and let them have their wish list of pockets and neck loop styles.
The project encompassed a range of new challenges – from sourcing fabrics, working with heavier cottons, and working out the process of production. But the end results were worth it. The Buttes team looks stunning and there was nothing like the satisfaction of seeing the smiles of six very differently sized chefs as they put on aprons that fit each perfectly.